In keeping with this year’s theme, we bring you our summer issue Summertime in 2009! Summertime brings with it a lot of fun, outdoor activities with friends and family. As you continue to become more fit and adopt a more active lifestyle, sometimes you have to endure everything else that comes along with finding your â€œinner athlete. Unfortunately, that can mean injury. We thought it would be beneficial to discuss a very effective way to help recover from injury, ice therapy.
When a person becomes injured, most often the injury incurred is considered an acute injury. An acute injury is a recent injury caused by a specific event that will usually heal within a certain amount of time. One of the best ways to treat an acute injury is with ice. Ice therapy, also known as cryotherapy can be beneficial in many ways to include:
- Reducing bleeding and swelling
- Pain relief
- Reducing muscle spasm
Reducing Bleeding and Swelling
Ice can be used to reduce inflammation surrounding an injury. Two symptoms of inflammation are bleeding and swelling. Swelling is one of the body’s natural responses to injury. When the injured area swells, bodily fluid is accumulated and range of motion of the joint and/or muscle is limited, therefore protecting the injured area from further damage. Ice therapy helps to reduce this response.
By cooling the surface of the skin as well as the underlying tissues, vasoconstriction occurs. Vasoconstriction is the narrowing of blood vessels, which decreases the amount of blood flow to the area and therefore, reduces the amount of swelling.
Ice therapy is thought to reduce the amount of pain to an injured area, though it is scientifically unclear as to exactly why this may occur. It is known, however, that cold reduces the activity of free nerve endings, raises the pain threshold, and causes a release of endorphins that overrides the pain sensation (known as the pain gate theory). The decrease of pain may be associated with one or a combination of all the above responses to cold therapy.
Reducing Muscle Spasm
Muscles will spasm as a response to pain. As the muscles contract, they are protecting themselves from further damage. More often than not, muscle spasms occur due to overuse of the muscle rather than specific injury. It is thought that ice can be used to reduce muscle spasms because the cold slows the motor activity of the muscle resulting in decreased action and more relaxation of the muscle.
When to Ice and When Not to Ice
Ice is most beneficial when used immediately after injury. This will best help reduce swelling, tissue damage, blood clot formation, inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain. Ice therapy will continue to be most beneficial 24-48 hours following an injury.
The use of ice may also provide positive results for chronic inflammation and/or pain. When using ice in this manner, it is important to remember to ice after exercise and not before. Icing before exercise decreases the temperature to the area, which alters the movement of the muscle or joint thereby exposing it to further damage. Only in special situations, and with supervision, should ice be used prior to exercise.
In certain circumstances, ice may not be beneficial. The following conditions should not be treated with ice therapy:
- Raynauds Phenomenon a condition affecting small blood vessels in the extremities
- Cold Hypersensitivity hypersensitivity to cold may present itself in the form of hives (Cold Urticaria) or a rash (Cold Erythema)
- Cold Hemoglobinuria a condition when red blood cells break down so quickly that some hemoglobin cannot combine with blood proteins
- Anesthesia numbness or altered sensitivity that may affect the injured patient’s ability to sense the degree of coolness
How to Ice
It is important to apply ice to an injury as soon as possible after the injury has occurred. There are many different methods to ice therapy; the most commonly used is the ice pack. An ice pack is any type of container that holds cubed or crushed ice such as a plastic bag or towel. These ice packs can be held in place by an Ace bandage or other types of athletic wrap or tape. If your container is thin like a plastic bag, it may be necessary to place a barrier between the ice pack and your skin to prevent frostbite.
Leave the ice pack in place for no more than 20-30 minutes. Initially, the ice will constrict local blood vessels and decrease the temperature of the tissue. After 20 minutes, the blood vessels will open slowly and then the tissue temperature will start to increase again. This effect is called â€œreactive vasodilatationâ€ and is what assists in the beginning states of recovery from an injury.
Stages of Ice Therapy
Stage One: Cold
Stage Two: Burning/Prickling
Stage Three: Aching (sometimes will feel worse than the pain)
Stage Four: Numbness*
*The forth stage is the most important and as soon as this stage is achieved, the ice should be removed.
Ice therapy may be continued off and on throughout the day. Allow your skin and underlying tissue to return to normal temperature before re-applying the ice. For example, one might ice for 20 minutes, then re-ice two or three hours later. If pain and inflammation does not subside and continues for more than 48 hours after injury, it may be wise to consult your physician for further instruction.
Other ice therapy methods include:
- Ice baths a large container is filled with cold water and ice where the injured area can be submerged. This method is beneficial for cooling awkward, bony areas such as the foot, ankle, hand, elbow.
- Ice Massage cubes or blocks of ice are used to rub the injured muscle.
- Gel Packs gelatinous substances that can be kept in the freezer and molded to the injured area. To prevent frostbite, apply on skin through a towel or cloth.
- Chemical Cold Packs single use cold packs that are activated when an inner pouch is broken, releasing a chemical that lowers the temperature of the pack. These are convenient for use in emergency situation.
- Cryocuff a machine, which consists of a gallon tank of ice water and a nylon sleeve, into which you place the injured part. The ice water flows through the cuff to provide constant cooling to the injured area.
Ice as Preventative Measure
Applying ice after exercise to areas that are not necessarily injured, but may still feel a little achy, could be beneficial in the prevention of potential injury. For example, runners may use ice therapy on their knees after a run to help prevent irritation and/or inflammation, which will help keep them healthy and strong.
Be Patient, Strong, and Healthy
As your lifestyle becomes more active, you may begin to feel that nothing can slow you down! This is wonderful, but you must also remember that if injury occurs, you will have to slow down and be patient to fully recover. In fact, you should use this time to give yourself an extra pat on the back because the more fit you are going into an injury, the better and most times, quicker recovery you will have (depending on the extent of the injury, of course). So, don’t get down. Be patient, listen to your doctors, PTs, and your Fitness Coaches, and you will return to your normal activities before you know it!
What you eat plays a big role in how you function throughout your day. Food gives your body the energy and the nutrients it needs to be the best you can be each and every day. Eating a well-balanced diet is very important in building a strong immune system and an equally as strong body to fend off disease and tackle the stresses we face on a daily basis. Likewise, when we find ourselves in recovery mode, whether from a tough workout or injury, our nutrition plays a key role in how well we recover.
When we sustain an injury, inflammation will follow. The above article talked about the importance and necessity of ice therapy to aid in the injury recovery process. Ice will help reduce inflammation from the outside in. However, there are things we can do to reduce the inflammation from the inside out.
Foods that are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Omega-3 fatty acids can help fight inflammation. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as: citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, baked potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli etc. Vitamin E can be found in oils such as sunflower, safflower, olive, corn, and soybean. It is also found in nuts like peanuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods are found in fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Nuts and seeds such as, walnuts and flaxseed are also high in Omega-3s.
Another food that has shown an anti-inflammatory response is the herb turmeric. Turmeric is a flavoring that is used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is also found in mustard condiments and helps give the yellow coloring. Turmeric contains the ingredient curcumin, which is found in curry powder. It has even been called a better anti-inflammatory than the powerful steroid, cortisone.
Vitamins as Building Blocks
Vitamin C is also an important nutrient in helping your body form collagen. Collagen is a protein that helps repair tendons and ligaments and strengthen bones. It is an essential nutrient for repair and for the healing process to occur.
Vitamin A is important for cell growth and bone development. It is necessary in the recovery process because it helps strengthen immune function. Good sources of Vitamin A are: Sweet potatoes, carrots, mango, papaya, spinach, turnip greens, red bell peppers, etc.
Zinc is beneficial for wound healing and skin repair. Good food sources of Zinc are: meats, seafood, sunflower seeds, almonds, etc. The RDA for Zinc is 11 milligrams per day for men and 8 milligrams per day for women. It is recommended to not take more than 40 milligrams per day.
Food Good for Your Mood
Everyone feels a little down in the dumps some days. This is especially to be expected if you are battling an injury. Often, incurring an injury can lead to a mild, situational depression if the injury is keeping you from doing what you love. This is another great reason to focus on your nutrient intake and adhere to a healthy diet.
Eat a balance of nutrient-rich foods, filled with complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and a healthy amount of fat. Carbohydrates (especially â€œsmartâ€ carbs like whole grains, fruits, and veggies) raise the level of the mood-boosting brain chemical, serotonin. A rise in serotonin can cause a calming effect and lower anxiety levels.
Protein-rich, low-fat foods like turkey, tuna, and chicken contain the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine raises the levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which can help you feel more alert.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a healthy fat and is another nutrient associated with the relief of depression symptoms. One study shows that societies that eat a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids have a higher prevalence of depression when compared to societies that consume a larger amount of Omega-3s.
The bottom line is that no matter what your goal, whether it is to lose weight, be healthy, get well from illness, prevent illness, recover from injury, or prevent injury, eating a nutritious, well-rounded diet is key. It is equally important to recognize that when you do not eat a healthy, well-rounded diet that you could, in fact, be inhibiting your recovery process. The vitamins and nutrients we take in when consuming a well-rounded diet help us live the lives we want to live, healthy and injury free!
Recipe courtesy of Eating Well
This company-worthy salmon is steamed on a bed of escarole (or substitute your favorite veggie like asparagus or zucchini or squash) and basted in a rich and tangy lemon-butter sauce. Fresh tarragon is delicious or try other herbs, such as thyme or rosemary. Rainbow trout or arctic char are good substitutes for the salmon.
Add a side of brown rice for a complete, healthy, and well-balanced meal!
Makes 4 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour
EASE OF PREPARATION: Moderate
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chopped escarole, romaine lettuce or spinach
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1-1 1/4 pounds skinned salmon fillet, preferably wild Pacific (see Note), cut into 4 portions
- Preheat oven to 400°F (or see Grill Variation, below).
- To prepare packets, start with four 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of parchment paper or foil. Fold in half crosswise. With the parchment or foil folded, draw half a heart shape on one side as you would if you were making a Valentine. Use scissors to cut out the heart shape. Open up the heart.
- Combine butter with the juice of 1 lemon in a small pan; melt over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in tarragon and garlic. Reserve 2 tablespoons for the fish. Combine the rest of the sauce in a large bowl with escarole (or lettuce or spinach), scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.
- Place one-fourth of the greens mixture (about 11/4 cups) on one side of each open heart fairly close to the crease and leaving at least a 1-inch boarder around the edges for folding. Place 1 piece of fish on top of each portion of greens. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Brush the reserved sauce on the fish. Slice the remaining lemon and top the fish with the lemon slices.
- Close the packet to cover the ingredients. Starting at the top, seal the packet by folding the edges together in a series of small, tight folds. Twist the tip of the packet and tuck it underneath to help keep the packet closed. Place the packets on a large rimmed baking sheet (packets may overlap slightly). Bake until the fish is just cooked through and the greens are wilted, about 15 minutes. (Carefully open one package to check for doneness be cautious of the steam.) Let the packets rest unopened for 5 minutes before serving.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 215 calories; 10 g fat (5 g sat, 2 g mono); 68 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 24 g protein; 3 g fiber; 512 mg sodium; 763 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (45% daily value), Vitamin C (40% dv), Folate (34% dv), Potassium (22% dv), omega-3s.
1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat
TIP: Ingredient Note: Wild-caught salmon from the Pacific (Alaska and Washington) are more sustainably fished and have a larger, more stable population. For more information, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch (mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp).
Grill Variation: Cooking in packets is great for the grill, but it’s not safe to put parchment paper over an open flame, so use foil. To prepare packets for grilling, start with eight 20- to 24-inch-long pieces of foil. Layer two sheets for each of four packets (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning). Arrange the ingredients on one half of each double layer. Fold the foil over the ingredients and tightly seal the packets by crimping and folding the edges together. Grill over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the packets to another spot on the grill about halfway through to ensure even cooking.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Equipment: Parchment paper or foil
Barb Rock – July
Barb has been a loyal client of BodyBasics, committing to several group training sessions each month, since June of 2006. She is encouraging to her fellow group mates and she always comes to give her best effort. She asks great questions and continues to educate herself about the ins and outs of exercise and nutrition. She is one that backs up what she says with measurable action steps.
Barb, thank you for being such an example to others through your actions. It is so rewarding to watch you transform both your mindset and your bod right before our eyes. You will be in your little black dress before you know it!
Tom Meade – August
Tom added the services of Body Basics to his plan in November of 2008. He sought a professional to assist him towards better health after some unusual chest pains sent him to a cardiologist a couple months before resulting in the addition of heart and cholesterol meds and a stern prompting to improve his lifestyle. Tom listened to his body’s warning ,as well as his doctor’s, and started towards a new life by cleaning up his nutrition. He then added an exercise program that included 3-4 days of aerobics and 2 days of weight training. Seven months after these additions, the results are amazing. Meds have been almost completely eliminated. He has lowered his body fat by 10%. He has eliminated 50 pounds! He is running 40-45 minutes at a pace that stopped him short 7 months prior after only 5 minutes. The list of improvements goes on!
Tom, You are such an example of what can happen when proper nutrition and the right program design come together. Keep up the good work and thank you for your continued trust.
Do you have a favorite workout song? What gets you pumped up? What songs make you want to move? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org any and all songs that you would like to hear at the studio during your workouts. We’ll put them on the Body Basics iPod song list! Thanks!
We have 8 used mats in need of a home. We will be switching out our current mats with some new ones in the coming month. If you would like one let your fitness coach know.
To empower people to realize their innate abilities by providing an environment that nurtures, educates, and inspires.
Keep Up the Great Work!
We are very proud of all of you!
Chris, Kathleen, Mike H., Katrina, Mike D., Jenny, John, Robin, and Terry